Paramount Global stockrose sharply and somewhat unexpectedly last Monday by 6%.
In this uncertain media environment -- with no real schedule for earnings and financial news disclosure -- analysts are speculating that Paramount Global or parts of that company may be up for sale.
And why not? Legacy media business is in a state of massive disruption, with traditional TV- and movie-based companies having to improvise around new streaming and digital businesses that they need to get up and running quickly while simultaneously trying to find ways to minimizing losses of those business.
Rich Greenfield of LightShed Partners thinks Paramount Global is not quite ready yet to move down this path. If it was, there would be more significant and obvious cost cutting at the company to make Paramount -- or parts thereof -- more attractive to buyers.
To Greenfield's point, Paramount has not been very aggressive in responding to those interested in, for example, the BET group of networks or other cable networks in its stable. That's another strong hint that it is waiting for another moment to do something.
This occurred as their legacy TV business continues to lose revenue due to cord-cutting -- and currently, amid malaise in the advertising market. Still these businesses are very profitable.
At the same time, they need to consider what becomes of their live, linear TV businesses, including whether to sell certain TV networks.
Bob Iger, chief executive officer of Walt Disney, considered -- and then kind of pulled back -- the idea that Disney TV networks could be for sale.
While Paramount Global has many TV networks -- including the likes of MTV, BET and Nickelodeon as well as around a dozen more -- it is the CBS television network that headlines the group. So the question is: what is the price for perhaps its most valuable asset, the oldest television network around?
The bigger question is: who are the buyers? Among the big players, only Warner Bros. Discovery seems likely.
That said, perhaps a much smaller TV-based company -- AMC Networks or Lionsgate-Starz -- could be an obvious choice to join the big time.
For the latter, perhaps Lionsgate could merge Starz with Showtime, as a bigger pay streaming service.
Walt Disney and NBC Universal cannot really be considered because of longtime FCC rules preventing one company from owning two or more broadcast TV networks. In addition, both have limited cash on hand to buy that kind of business.
So... let's talk about the new digital players who have recently experimented and dipped into legacy media. Amazon completed a $8.5 billion deal two years ago to buy MGM -- a legendary, legacy movie studio, which has given Amazon major production capability to make high-quality network quality TV shows and movies.
But let's dig deeper -- to those digital-first companies that can either spread cash around, or make the jump with a little help:
Can Netflix, Apple, Google, or even Roku be a player?